A thread full of surprisingly interesting and varied love stories.
June 22, 2017 3:52 PM   Subscribe

A question posed to the married men of Reddit: what moment with your future wife made you think "Yup, I'm asking this girl to marry me."? (SLReddit) Although the one-sidedness of the question is not ideal (how about "married women, when did you know you wanted to marry your husband"), there are some great stories in here, from the touching to the silly.

(The thread prompted me to ask my husband when he knew he wanted to marry me, and he cited a time I unceremoniously told someone off on social media). I highly recommend asking your partners when they knew!
posted by millipede (79 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
So here's where we replicate that thread on our board?

(Sure! I decided marriage was a good idea when my life circumstances conspired such that I could make a good enough living that I knew I'd be able to take care of her material well being for the long haul. I'd previously decided I wanted to spend my life with her because I was looking at her once and I realized that I didn't want to not be with her ever again and I already knew I was good at monogamy. But I was gun-shy, because, for reasons, her financial future wasn't bright, and I wasn't sure about mine. Then that changed and $, so marriage. And now it's been ten years and still so rad. But I'm still strongly, strongly against the common social understanding that marriage is somehow a necessary life step for people. I'm not even sure it's a net good. But it's working for us, I will admit.)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:01 PM on June 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

Having sex.

Had to fart.

Had farted previously with no odor. Decided to risk it.

It was horrifying. Am almost literal brown cloud.

I tried frantically to suck it up my nostrils, in defiance of everything I know about physics and biology.

She grimaced, yelled what the FUCK, and proceeded to laugh until she couldn't breathe.

I thought, yep, rest of my life right here.
posted by middleclasstool at 4:10 PM on June 22, 2017 [53 favorites]

21 years and I'm not 100% sure either of us really ever came to that specific conclusion, but so far, so good.
posted by GuyZero at 4:28 PM on June 22, 2017 [15 favorites]

I knew when I was sitting on the Yarra Promenade about 2 minutes before I told her that I was going to pack up my life and in six weeks come to the US to give things a shot. She had a job, a mortgage, and cats. I had a job, some cash, and a car. It was clear who was moving. I wasn't going to quit a job and sink $10K into something that wasn't at least leading towards marriage. But something tweaked inside me and I knew I had to at least try or else I'd regret it forever.

Six and a half years later, I still don't regret a single day.

In a practical sense? We were sitting in an immigration lawyer's office assessing our options as my initial three month term that I had a return ticket for (although I did hold a visa and I-94 for six) was coming to an end. We knew we wanted to stay together so our lawyer told us it was either get married in ~11 weeks or spend a year apart. At that point we were both in agreement that we were going to move a mountain and pull it off. The way I looked at it is that even if I ever wasn't sure it's Cali, right? If shit goes south they invented no fault divorce. I hop back on a plane home, tail between my legs, and learn how to drink whiskey.

Now the fun thing about planning a wedding 11 weeks out from the date is that you don't have a lot of decisions to make because it mostly involves begging venues and people to work your dates. This takes a lot of pressure off you because you're not going for perfect, you're going for "it has to actually happen" We got married on Easter Sunday 2010 and I somehow managed to pull my parents, one set of grandparents, my sister and her family, and three of my closest friends over the Pacific. My lawyer sent off my I-485 and co on Monday and my I-94 was due to expire on the Thursday.

Oh the joys of intercontinental relationships.
posted by Talez at 4:31 PM on June 22, 2017 [13 favorites]

She grimaced, yelled what the FUCK, and proceeded to laugh until she couldn't breathe.

Given the circumstances, though, wasn't that almost instantly?
posted by Jon Mitchell at 4:33 PM on June 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

My now husband and I met online. We'd been emailing back and forth when he asked to call me. I have pretty severe phone anxiety that I've largely managed by now but this was when it was at its worst. However, I didn't understand then that's what it was, so I didn't know how to tell him my problem, but I really really liked him so I sucked it up although I asked if I could call him instead.

I paced around my room for 3 hours before I had my roommate call him for me and then pass me the phone when he answered. And he just had the sweetest, calmest, kindest voice. And the sweetest, nicest laugh. Which went with his words - everything about him was calm, centered, and just about as much of a sweetheart as one can be and still be human. (I'm still not sure how it's possible someone as kind as him can exist.) And my anxiety just went poof! We ended up talking for hours until our phones died. To this day it's the longest phone conversation I've ever had.

I like to tell people I knew on our first date, which is kind of true - our first date was supposed to be coffee and we ended up talking until the coffee shop closed down, then going to a bar and closing that down, after which I went home and told my roommate I had met the man I was going to marry. But really, when I heard his voice on the phone, and his voice and words centered and calmed me down to my bones in a way I had never experienced before, that's when I felt it.

It's been 13 years, and still, every day, even if it's just hearing it for the first time after being apart from working all day, his voice still has the same effect, except now I have to add his voice also causes me to feel an enormous rush of love, joy, gratitude, and absolute awe that I'm so lucky.
posted by barchan at 4:36 PM on June 22, 2017 [103 favorites]

We both thought it was going to be a quick fling. She was about to head to India for 2 months and we'd only spent a few days together. The Saturday before she left for India we went to the Magritte retrospective at MOMA and walked around talking about the art. I mostly listened and remember thinking The way she thinks about everything is so interesting. I'm never going to get tired of listening to her talk about everything. Later that night she blurted out "I know I'm not supposed to say this so early but I love you!" I replied "I'm glad you said it; I love you too." Now we're married and she's still the most interesting person I've ever met.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:38 PM on June 22, 2017 [46 favorites]

I mean practically, it was when I followed him to Texas immediately after college. You don't follow a man halfway across the country unless you plan to commit.

On preview: I just asked MuddDude this question and he answered more or less the same thing. But THEN he told me a story I had never heard before and readers, we have been married for 9 years. I always said that he never proposed, we just started planning the wedding and then decided to get engaged. BUT he says that the morning we decided, he had snuck off to a jewelry store to buy me a ring and do the whole surprise thing, but he didn't know my ring size and he hates sales people and he freaked out and left. Thank God for him that night I told him we should get engaged, went online, and picked out a ring on eBay! That pretty much explains our whole relationship.
posted by muddgirl at 4:43 PM on June 22, 2017 [24 favorites]

I'd just ordered a couple of Guinnesses at a Queenstown bar name Pogue Mahone (Kiss my arse, in Gaelic), put them on the table, and thought 'I could spend the rest of my life with you', and said 'would you marry me?' She said 'yup.'
posted by Sebmojo at 4:44 PM on June 22, 2017 [5 favorites]

Specifcally - I thought "I don't not want to spend the rest of my life with you." I don't know why that's how it came to me but it did.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:46 PM on June 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

There's a lovely little poem from Poem_from_your_sprog of i lik the bred fame in there:

I remember the way
That I thought about love -
It was rockets and bells,
It was dreams from above.
But it came without fuss,
And it came without flair -
And before I could look,
It was already there.
I remember the way...
But I cannot recall
How it happened to be
That you asked me at all.
See it wasn't a shock,
'Cause we already knew
That your future was me,
And my future was you.

posted by yasaman at 4:57 PM on June 22, 2017 [43 favorites]

Nothing says romance like Seussian anapests.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:06 PM on June 22, 2017 [16 favorites]

I knew I was going to marry her when I got a job offer in the USA and I found out you can get a visa for a spouse, but not for a girlfriend. We married that week.

We had already been living together for years, and we knew this was going to be a life long arrangement, but we did not articulate it until we had to do the paperwork.
posted by Dr. Curare at 5:12 PM on June 22, 2017

We got married for a green card .... 33 years ago and 2 grown kids later it's still working
posted by mbo at 5:17 PM on June 22, 2017 [5 favorites]

eustacescrubb, I went to that very exhibit and it's one of my fondest memories! I just teared up a little thinking that I may have been in the same room with you at the moment you knew that you fell in love with your wife.
posted by Krawczak at 5:18 PM on June 22, 2017 [25 favorites]

He was the first person in my entire life to make a cup of tea for me that was actually good.
posted by olinerd at 5:27 PM on June 22, 2017 [10 favorites]

When she said, "I'm pregnant." I know, I know, a recipe for sad disaster, but it's been 33 years and I wouldn't change a thing.
posted by tommyD at 5:28 PM on June 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I met her by chance outside the post office. I approached her because she looked lost and I thought I could help. I couldn't resist her--she was young, she was adorable, and I could stare for hours into her big green eyes. We connected immediately and she pleaded for me to stay. When she followed me to my car I knew I couldn't let her go.

So I scooped her up, shoved her into my van, and six years later she's here in my arms and as cute as the day we met.

did I do it right
posted by Anonymous at 5:38 PM on June 22, 2017

Marriage was not on the table yet, but the legend of our first date includes this little snippet:

As an adolescent, I would dream about my future and in particular my future children. I had names picked out - one for a boy and one for a girl. These names are documented in extant journals and diaries from back in the day.

Years later, on our first date, I learned that he already had two children from a previous marriage, and those two children HAD THE EXACT NAMES I HAD PICKED OUT FOR MY FUTURE CHILDREN!
posted by rekrap at 5:39 PM on June 22, 2017 [45 favorites]

This is funny, because I got an angry FB message from an old girlfriend a few months ago and its been on my mind lately. She was appalled to find that I am now married because when we were dating she dumped me because I said I couldn't see getting married - and, at the time, I was 23 and simply couldn't see it. Anyway, she blamed me for her several divorces and whatnot because I (apparently) lied to her about my willingness to get married.

I told her: "I was honest then, and I changed my mind later. Maybe you shouldn't have dumped me and it would have worked out, or not, who knows." She hasn't written back. It's true though, I really liked her at the time, but I wasn't going be married at 24.

Anyway, my wife and I were neighbors. I had a rule about dating neighbors, owing to one in particular that I dated and the breakup went poorly. So even though we talked often, I never asked her out, except this one time, and she said no and I quote: "you're not really my type". Which was fair, she wasn't really mine either.*

We'd hang out on the front porch of her place or mine, have beers, and shoot the shit all the time, though. One day, I got stood up for a sold out play I had gone to some trouble to get tickets to so I asked her if she would go, so a seat wouldn't go to waste. She agreed to go. The play was fun, so we went for dinner, and that was fun, so we went dancing, and then....

Reader, we are still hanging out on the front stoop of her place or mine** having beers and shooting the shit.

* There is some hilarity in believing you know what you want in a partner.
**spoiler alert - they are the same place

posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:01 PM on June 22, 2017 [34 favorites]

I was at sea. On a small boat in the Mediterranean with three other close friends. It was my 40th birthday, and we had planned out this indulgent five day snorkeling/climbing/fishing trip through the Aegean as part of a two week journey through Turkey. I had just started long-distance dating someone a month earlier, and for reasons of her professional schedule and just the basic timing, it was impossible for her to join us. So I called her before I flew to Turkey and for the first time, I told her that I loved her. We had been on one in-person date, but had been emailing and calling each other daily. I said that I loved her then boarded my plane and landed in Amsterdam to a new email from her saying she loved me back. But that's not the moment.

We had actually dated before. 20 years earlier. I was 20, she was 19. It lasted three awkward, disastrous months, because we were both half-formed, both unable to lift the baggage that the other was carrying. We didn't know how to tell the other person what we needed, because we didn't know that ourselves. We broke up but kept a friendship for 20 years. We fell in love with others, moved to different cities, and got on with our lives.

Then a couple of years prior, when I was facing the end of a visa, and having to self deport, I wrote to a number of friends to tie off and get closure on a bunch of relationships. I wrote to her saying how I was sorry for how I was when I was 20 and I felt so lucky to still be friends with her, and she came out and apologized about stuff that she never told me when she was 19. We forgave each other, we forgave ourselves, we realized how important we were to each other.

I took a year or so for me to sort out my affairs and get back on a residency track and start thinking of dating again. Then another year after that I said that I wished we didn't live so far apart and she said that she felt the same. We met each other halfway, in New York, and we had one whirlwind date that led to phone calls, emails, and then me on that boat, reading an email from her.

She recalled how I was a terribly intense young man when I was 20 and when she was younger, she had shied away from that because she didn't know what to do with all of that energy. I just braced myself, because I had learned to take 'intensity' as a bit of a slur; a critique about having feelings that I couldn't manage properly. Code for me failing at emotional labor.

She observed that I still had that intensity, but I had learned how to focus and wield it, and now it just bowled her over and swept her off her feet. And she was the only person who talked about my "intensity" as a good thing, and that, along with our 20 years of friendship and everything else, was what really sealed how special she was and how we belonged together. That's when I knew that I would ask.

But, I also didn't want to formally ask and set off this train of expectations around Being Engaged and stuff. So I held off on it. But then she told me a month later that while she wanted to move in with me, she wanted to be sure that marriage was on the roadmap. She wasn't going to move in just to wait and see. So I thought about it and just said I wanted to marry her, but I thought that finding an apartment, moving in, finding a job, etc. were all going to be stressful and engagement would add all of these family expectations on top of that. So let's just do it one at a time and at the end we'll totally get married. She needed something more concrete, so I asked if it would be ok for me to ask without a ring? and I can keep asking until I get a ring? And then when I got a ring it's all official and stuff. But until then I'll keep asking, keep expressing my intent, and so she'll know that I'm thinking of it and committed to it.

So, that's how I spent six months asking her to marry me. Nice dinner? I'd ask during the dessert course. Nice sunset. I'd stop and ask again. Lazy Sunday morning in bed? I'd hold her in my arms and ask her to marry me. And always she'd say yes.

Then, one week, we were realizing that if we were going to get married next summer, we should just start planning now. I had a sick day and just used it calling venues and doing research. By the end of the week, I had a bunch of places queued up and a schedule of site visits, and I suggested we go get dinner on Friday so we wouldn't have to worry about dishes and can get an early start on Saturday. And at dessert, as we were confirming our itinerary for sites, I just nonchalantly said, "oh, btw, you'll probably want to have this so we look legit and stuff."

And I gave her the ring and asked her one more time and she still said yes.

Then the maitre'd came over a few minutes later and semi-awkwardly asked, "hey, umm, was this a special occasion? Did a thing just happen?"

"Oh, do you mean, did we get engaged? Yes!"

"OH! Good! I was hoping that I was reading that right. Here's some champagne from the house. Congratulations!"
posted by bl1nk at 6:01 PM on June 22, 2017 [37 favorites]

We had been dating about a year in our junior year of college. She tells me she is going to see Cats with a friend from back home who has an extra ticket. A couple of days later she apologizes for not being honest, the friend is a guy, but he is just a friend from high school. I think nothing of it, trust her totally. The day of Cats she calls me at about the time she should be heading out for the show, asking me to come to her sorority house ASAP. When I get there she is all dressed up for a date, with a 102 degree fever and sick to her stomach, all from the stress of almost cheating on me. The guy wasn't just a friend, it was some guy that she had met on Spring Break the week before. When he showed up a few minutes later she broke the date there on the sorority house porch, and immediately felt much better. That was moment I knew we'd be together forever. That was 29 years ago, we'll be married 26 years in August.
posted by COD at 6:06 PM on June 22, 2017 [7 favorites]

My ex-wife (yeah, ex. So sue me.) and I were sitting around the house together. She had the first Look Who's Talking movie on the TV. She looks at me and laughing says "I want one." and points at the screen. I say "No." She responds "Then marry me." (We had been living together for about two years at that point.)

A few beats pass....

I said "Put your shoes on." She gazes at me quizzically.

"We're going ring shopping."

(I proposed more formally a few dates later. Yup, I was SURE she would be THE ONE. There's a reason I have never been a manager for any length of time. Reading people is not a effective part of the Samizdata skillbase.)
posted by Samizdata at 6:36 PM on June 22, 2017 [5 favorites]

My wife assures me that the Moment She Knew was when I cleaned the toilet in her Eastern European apartment. We had never even dated at that point! I thought we were just friends!
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 6:45 PM on June 22, 2017 [8 favorites]

You know, I can't remember.

I can say that when we first started dating, I had gotten out of a really toxic relationship, and I just wanted to be single and sleep around for a while. I remember being genuinely frustrated and annoyed when I met her, because she was so great that I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep around anymore. I distinctly remember saying to myself "ah crap, we're going to be together forever."

As for the engagement itself -- at one point, after we'd been dating for a couple years, she and I were driving home from a night out with friends. I guess we started talking about how a couple we knew seemed keen on getting married. I mentioned that I'd been thinking about marriage, and she said she had too. We both agreed that we should definitely get married at some point in the future. I mentioned this conversation to someone the next day, and they flipped out. Pretty soon everyone was congratulating us on our engagement. Ohhhh, agreeing to get married is what an engagement is, we realized.

We haven't officially tied the knot (millennial finances and all), but we've been together going on six years, and you don't see me complaining.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 6:50 PM on June 22, 2017 [8 favorites]

OK, wait, I have a new The Moment: I just read this comment to her, and she said it was sweet, and then I substituted "snake people" for "millennial," and she said "snake people got no reason to live." When you know, you know.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 6:57 PM on June 22, 2017 [11 favorites]

We heard the news that DOMA had fallen when I was in the middle of my first (and, god willing, only) field season ever. I was living in Costa Rica with my (also gay) boss and I went "holy shit, holy shit, this is a possibility" to myself. (In a few weeks I would find out that my entire apartment had burnt down.) A year into my PhD, I knew I was not going to be able to move any time soon, and both my partners were in Canada and the UK--and one had expressed a lot of dissatisfaction with their situation. I was starting to get frustrated with my then-three year long distance relationship not having some kind of plan to not be long distance, and glancing back at my chat logs--I keep them because I was sentimental--we were vaguely hoping to maybe give it a shot if I could get a job out of the US post-PhD just a few weeks before Windsor's decision was announced.

When it came out, both my partners saw the decision long before I did--flailing from culture shock and a whole lot more physical exercise than I was used to had me a little overwhelmed, and anyway I only had Internet in our field station which was not where we were living. And I could only check on my laptop with it when my boss was working on something else and wanted me to go away for a while and stop Helping.

So NotaTailor tried to call me with excitement, but I didn't hear until I happened to be in the field station for the morning, as my boss had left me at loose ends that day. I was too stunned to have a real reaction then, and I kind of couldn't really celebrate publicly where I was--I was working in a Nazarene university's field station and didn't really want to find out what their stance on gay marriage was; I mean, I'm kind of obvious but being openly queer in the field can be a bit of a mess sometimes and anyway, at this point I was being very quiet about my relationships because we'd met online and it wasn't like anyone was going to meet them any time soon.

It took a while for my stunned response to slide into possibility and thought. And I started going "oh man, oh man, we can figure out a timeline now. Oh man. We could try these things. Oh my god." So I was thinking about it for the whole rest of my field season, even after my boss left. I wasn't saying anything, because it was a big thing to ask, especially knowing that I couldn't move for at least another four years (and as it turned out, my PhD is taking longer than that optimistic estimate). I spent nearly a month longer in the field, and I kept turning the idea over and over in my head, especially knowing that NotATailor's living situation was kind of shitty at the time. Eventually--right before I came back to the US, NotATailor asked--"maybe we could try to do this? would it be legal? how would it work? what are our options?" and we wound up deciding to try going in on a trip for them to visit and just see. But I was hoping by then. I was hoping hard.
posted by sciatrix at 7:08 PM on June 22, 2017 [10 favorites]

We were 19, and friends, and working late at University. I was a late bloomer with little to no dating experience, and finally at the point where I was starting to attract attention. I had PLANS to have some wild years before eventually settling down. A late night walk to get some fresh air ended up in a pretty location, and a very very good kiss, and I vividly remember thinking "Goddamnit. I bet I ruin it all by marrying this person."

It's been 20 years, and our kid just peeked over my shoulder to see what I'm doing online.
posted by BlueBlueElectricBlue at 7:14 PM on June 22, 2017 [22 favorites]

These are very sweet. I am a spinster, so will never know this feeling. But I love all the possibilities!
posted by mollymillions at 7:21 PM on June 22, 2017 [26 favorites]

You don't follow a man halfway across the country unless you plan to commit.

Well, sometimes that intent doesn't turn into reality but in my case, I'm still glad I did it.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 7:38 PM on June 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

When we exchanged a knowing look, without ever mentioning it aloud, that the Nationals pitcher that day was still working on a no-hitter into the 7th inning.

Ramon Ortiz didn't seal the deal, but we did.
posted by stevis23 at 7:40 PM on June 22, 2017 [9 favorites]

Oh, there's a bunch.

When he decided to take me to meet his family and we got side-swiped by an eighteen-wheeler on the 401, and other than being freaked out/scared, we spent time laughing as his back windshield ripped itself apart, but with a lovely tinkling noise. And he was so fixated on his family and how much he wanted to see them, but without ever once becoming a dick. Just very, very optimistic and sweet and worried.

When I busted my finger but good. I didn't know I had busted it--I thought I was being babyish about a normal fall--so I put my hand on the table in the restaurant. It was visibly badly injured. He immediately switched to OH GOD I'VE GOT TO KEEP IT TOGETHER FOR HER SAKE BUT IT'S SO HARD BECAUSE THAT IS HORRIFYING mode and, with the waitress' help, got me medical care. Then, a few days later, he was pulling my incredibly stoned ass ("You really, really need to take the recommended dose of the narcotics the surgeon has prescribed before this appointment. The tension brace I will be installing on your hand will be painful.") to my occupational therapist's office for a 6am appointment (so she could fit me into her day) when he's more of a "let's pretend the world doesn't exist before 8am" kinda guy, and, again, trying to keep it together for my benefit before dry heaving his way out of the room. Love means "dealing with your loved one's body horror for their benefit." (For completeness, love is also sharing a tiny bathroom and a similar work schedule without murder. For years.)

The first time we had one of our half-asleep back-and-forth laughing fits in the dark.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 8:03 PM on June 22, 2017 [6 favorites]

My college was running an all-female performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I went because I didn't have anything better to do, although it was kind of awkward because I had an ex who was a big Rocky Horror buff and I knew she'd be there.

So I was lurking in the shadows at the back of the room, which was a cafeteria they'd shoved the tables out of and hung a screen in, no stage or anything. And mostly I was watching the movie, because the performers were underacting and not very noticeable.

Then Rocky came out, in gold lame underwear and a lot of Ace bandages, and I stopped watching the movie. "Self," I said to myself, "it is completely ridiculous, because we've never even met, but I want to marry that girl."

My wife was not wearing their glasses during the performance or the afterparty, and so says they had the corresponding thought about three days later, during our first real date. Seventeen years later, I am thankful every single day for how ludicrously lucky I am.
posted by Rush-That-Speaks at 8:06 PM on June 22, 2017 [17 favorites]

I saw that thread and asked my husband about it, thinking we'd have a cute moment remembering something. He got mad at me for asking and accused me of comparing our relationship to other people's. So, that was a bummer.
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 8:12 PM on June 22, 2017 [18 favorites]

The moment I asked her out (for the third or fourth time) and she said yes. I mean, I waited for six years before I proposed, but that was it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:13 PM on June 22, 2017

We met in my third year of med school, I was a year ahead of her (I was acting as a wing man for my best friend who was trying to hook up with her but that's another story). A year and a half after our first date, match day arrived and I opened my envelope to learn I'd landed my first choice of residencies...2500 miles away in Seattle. I turned to my girlfriend expecting to see tears and disappointment but found joy and pride. I handed her a letter I'd written the night before about how I didn't want things to end and maybe we might could work it out. No commitment was made, it was just a mutual expression of the moment that we cared about each other and maybe that would be nice.

A year later, and she's done subinternships at my program and impressed the hell out of people. My program director writes a letter strongly suggesting they give my girlfriend serious consideration. On match day she opens her envelope and also gets her first choice...in Seattle. I later discovered she was their first choice as well. She still does not know this to this day. But this is still not when I knew I'd marry her.

I flew back for her graduation from med school. I had still never met her parents, and this would be it. See, my wife was born in India to very stern, very traditional parents. They were not aware that she had been dating a whitey for almost two years and in fact was moving 2500 miles to shack up with one. She correctly deduced what a scandal this would be in the D.C. area Telugu community and put off coming clean, but now there was no choice.

She picked me up from the airport and as we sat in the parking lot she tells me, you have to get a ring. It doesn't have to mean anything but it's the only thing that will make her parents consent to her following through on the plan to join me. Her parents had been an arranged marriage and there'd never been a "love marriage" in their social circle, much less one to a white guy with long hair who drank and smoked too much.

We stop at the mall on the way to her parents' home in the D.C. suburbs and put something suitable on credit. After shaking hands formally and polite smiles with the extended family, the women excuse themselves to the parlor and I am sat down at the table with her father, brother, and 5 older, very serious looking Indian men. No more smiles.

"Dr. Bartfast, what are your intentions towards my daughter?"

And that, dear Mefites, was the moment I realized I would marry her. You do not piss off the Indian uncles. I take my wife's cue and explain that we are in love and made the toughest two years of our lives work together and talk about how he has raised the most brilliant generous person I've ever met and that we make each other very happy. My palms are sweating and my heart is pounding. I ask permission to give her the ring in my pocket.

He asks many questions. About my parents. My education. My career plans. My religious traditions. My financial status. I answer everything completely truthfully. I think it was probably her brother who finally broke the ice and smiled and explained how much they love and want to protect his sister from harm, but that they know her to be the same person that I know and they ultimately trust her to make her choices.

I probably don't need to tell anyone that Indian engagements and marriages are a Big Thing. A huge party is hastily arranged a few days after her graduation. Like, a hotel ballroom was rented out and a feast with live musicians was prepared. I'm being given blessings and gifts , along with my wife, by hundreds of people I've never met and I am the only non Indian there. Clearly, not my expectation for how the week would go and I have quite a lot to explain to my family.

The following year is filled with showers and ceremonies and events, the whole time my now wife is telling me "it's all just for my parents, it's not a big deal, don't worry about it." A year later we are wed in a combined Hindu and Catholic ceremony with my uncle the priest officiating in the swankiest old money power club in D.C. with a thousand guests.

I highly recommend having a large Hindu wedding to anyone who can. In retrospect, if they offer to have you ride in on an elephant or a white horse, take them up on it.

"it's all just for my parents, it's not a big deal, don't worry about it."

It's been 17 years now. We have 2 kids, she's now a full professor at the medical program she hustled to get in to in order to be with me. There have been several "love marriages" in the D.C. Telugu community since ours, including her brother who also married a white person. Her dad makes a wonderful grandfather.

Here is my tattoo. It's Telugu script which means "Chinnu" or "Little One", my pet name for my wife since the beginning.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:18 PM on June 22, 2017 [78 favorites]

As dawn was breaking she ran to the window naked, posed in silhouette and farted. We both exploded in laughter. 24 years later, we're in the middle of a nasty, protracted divorce.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:27 PM on June 22, 2017 [38 favorites]

Met in AA, right after I had broken it off with a previous boyfriend and had decided I was okay with spending the rest of my life alone (I was 24 or so). He was part of the crowd I hung with (we all went out after meetings and ate in the deli). Skinny guy with a yellow tinge that said "liver damage" and a motor mouth, but sweet as hell and absolutely not my type. I walked over and kicked him in the shin like a fourth grade girl showing a boy she likes him. He knew then, I knew then.

Married 41 years. (Both still sober)
posted by Peach at 8:27 PM on June 22, 2017 [39 favorites]

Did it for the passport. It's been pretty great. He's not bad either.
posted by tavegyl at 8:43 PM on June 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

I knew I wanted to marry my wife when the government where we were moving required it for me to get a visa. We were a quite happily unmarried couple for 10 years before a nation state coerced us into becoming a happily married couple.
posted by srboisvert at 8:56 PM on June 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I met him while he was in the middle of a slow-motion crash test of a breakup. We shook hands and I was like hm, this. I waited him out 6 months, we hooked up, and 3-4 months later we were sitting up in bed one evening, listening to Ben Folds Five, and I thought oh shit.

He proposed five months later, in a sort of "hey if you wanted to sort of do this thing..." way.

Our first dance was to "The Luckiest", like all the indie girls at the time, like what we were listening to when I realized oh shit. (I have some different feelings about the song now, but my processional was NIN's "A Warm Place" and Dead Can Dance "The Unfolding" and I still have no regrets. There's a key change in the latter that made all the attendees shiver, and still gets me every time.)

4/16/04 is our wedding date, for math fun.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:57 PM on June 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

After eight years together getting married seemed like an outstanding excuse for a party. I asked the standard question, framed in that context; my better half enthusiastically agreed.

It was a good party. Still good after 17 years.
posted by N-stoff at 8:57 PM on June 22, 2017

I don't think there was a particular moment I knew I wanted to marry my husband. I've always sort of been casually up for marriage. Had done it two times before, not exactly well thought out choices either time.

A couple of months after we started living together, he asked me "would you marry me?" and I said sure. So after that I started referring to him as my fiance, and soon I noticed he still referred to me as his girlfriend. I asked him why, he said we weren't engaged, I referenced the aforementioned proposal and he said, "I wasn't asking you to marry me, I was asking if you WOULD marry me if I asked." I thought, "Ohhhh, ok motherfucker!" and went back to calling him my boyfriend without further comment.

A year or so later we went ring shopping, and eventually he went down on one knee with the ring, and we tied the knot. And I tell the fake proposal story any time I get the chance, because although he doesn't actually remember doing it, he agrees it was a dick move and it embarrasses the shit out of him every time I tell it. So it was totally worth it.

We've been married 16 years today. I'm pretty sure we were a good 10 years in before I knew for sure I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I tell him he's my most favorite husband ever, and he is. :)
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:57 PM on June 22, 2017 [6 favorites]

Oh man, I don't know when I knew. Maybe I always knew. I can't remember a time when I didn't know. As soon as I decided I was serious about being in a relationship with her, I knew that it would happen. How could it not? Our love didn't bowl us over, or light us on fire, it just... was. Not getting married didn't make sense. How could we have made the plans we wanted to make if we weren't married?

So we got married. And goddamn. I love being married to her.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 8:58 PM on June 22, 2017 [6 favorites]

As dawn was breaking she ran to the window naked, posed in silhouette and farted. We both exploded in laughter. 24 years later, we're in the middle of a nasty, protracted divorce.

I'm sorry and I hope things work out for you, but these three sentences might be the best novel I've ever read.
posted by mrgoat at 8:58 PM on June 22, 2017 [26 favorites]

PS Still my favorite wedding photo
posted by Lyn Never at 8:59 PM on June 22, 2017 [5 favorites]

I have a crummy romance story. After two years of dating my then girlfriend said it was time to get married. I was 30 and felt like that was a good age, she seemed responsible enough, and we were both thinking of quitting our jobs and traveling for a while, which would be more convenient as a married couple. That was 7 years, 3 kids, 8 apartments, and 3 countries ago.

We might not have the most romantic relationship, but it works.
posted by Literaryhero at 9:32 PM on June 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

We had been co-workers for a couple of years; I thought he was quite nice. And then one day out on the shop floor he did this silly trick, flipping up a skid by stepping on the edge of it in just the right spot. I laughed, and made a joke about him being a young Archimedes, and he returned with the quote about moving the world with a lever if he only had a spot to stand on. And I thought to myself: girl, you need to take a closer look at this one. That was 20 years ago.

The moral of the story is that a well-rounded education is a good thing, because you just never know when a basic familiarity with ancient Greek mathematicians will get you laid.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 9:32 PM on June 22, 2017 [67 favorites]

I was living in a co-ed co-op. One day I was in a bathroom stall and through the crack between the door and I wall, I spied a hippie guy with a bandana, long curly hair, and crooked vampirey looking teeth brushing those teeth at the sink. I had this random thought that I'm gonna marry that man, which was really stupid since I was living with another man.

Over the next few weeks we got to know each other around the house and became close friends. I eventually broke up with my boyfriend, but my hippie pal wasn't down for for a romantic relationship. We stayed best friends for several years while I had other boyfriends. He finally made his move on me when I was between boyfriends. We had a world of fun together and could talk for hours and always have a great time together. We stayed married for eleven years, very amicably, but we felt more like brother and sister than spouses. We split up and he left to travel for a few years but when he came back to live in the same town, we took right up where we left off —as close friends.

So my feeling on seeing him the first time was right, I just didn't know his ultimate role was my brother instead of my husband. These days, my family and his new wife treat us exactly like we are siblings.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:26 PM on June 22, 2017 [12 favorites]

"A thread full of surprisingly interesting and varied love stories."

The Moscow Big Mac is adorable, but like 2/3, maybe 3/4, of these are some variation on, "She took care of me, and I liked that." It's both claustrophobic and sad. One dude says his wife's winning attribute is unwrapping his hamburger for him. It's so depressing.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:24 AM on June 23, 2017 [9 favorites]

I once asked my dad, when I was in a serious relationship, "How did you know mom was the one?"

His response was, "You know when you know, and if you don't, then you don't." That was a little confusing to me, but I just assumed it meant I didn't.

Fast forward about a month, my serious relationship sat on my lap and asked, "David, will you marry me?" I suddenly knew what my dad was talking about, and in a moment of blinding clarity, I said "Yes, yes I will!"

We were married in October of 2003, and now we have four kids and a flower farm in Maryland. Some days, all of it is just as surprising as finding myself in a moment of blinding clarity that has lasted most of two decades.
posted by dbrunton at 1:03 AM on June 23, 2017 [18 favorites]

My sister was killed, we moved far from home, the cat died, the bridge sank, and we were scared and alone, so we got married in case one of us was next. A year later she cringed from my intimate advance and we divorced shortly thereafter. It's cool, neither of us is dead yet.

A few years later, about 25 years ago, I met my current partner and wife. I don't actually recall a moment that lends itself to a story with regard to when I knew. At some point I realized we made a good team and that I really liked being around her family when we visit. I proposed to her in front of her family at a multi-unit Thanksgiving dinner.

Don't do that. It presupposes the answer, even if satisfying drama delights.

Despite this, public proposals executed at large family gatherings appear to have entered her family's - our family's - lexicon of tradition. Do as I say, not as I did.
posted by mwhybark at 2:24 AM on June 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Love Poem
John Frederick Nims

My clumsiest dear, whose hands shipwreck vases,
At whose quick touch all glasses chip and ring,
Whose palms are bulls in china, burs in linen,
And have no cunning with any soft thing
Except all ill-at-ease fidgeting people:
The refugee uncertain at the door
You make at home; deftly you steady
The drunk clambering on his undulant floor.

Unpredictable dear, the taxi drivers’ terror,
Shrinking from far headlights pale as a dime
Yet leaping before apopleptic streetcars—
Misfit in any space. And never on time.

A wrench in clocks and the solar system. Only
With words and people and love you move at ease;
In traffic of wit expertly maneuver
And keep us, all devotion, at your knees.

Forgetting your coffee spreading on our flannel,
Your lipstick grinning on our coat,
So gaily in love’s unbreakable heaven
Our souls on glory of spilt bourbon float.

Be with me, darling, early and late. Smash glasses—
I will study wry music for your sake.
For should your hands drop white and empty
All the toys of the world would break.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 2:50 AM on June 23, 2017 [29 favorites]

We'd already established basic compatibility; neither of us wanted kids, both of us liked cats more than dogs, we agreed that Star Trek is better than Star Wars. You know, the foundational stuff. I was listening to The Jesus Lizard at an unholy volume and she walked through the room and said, "when this album is over, put on some Foetus."

And I knew.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:17 AM on June 23, 2017 [10 favorites]

The stories here are way better than the link in the FPP, which is funny in some sort of recursive way.

I have a crummy romance story.

So do we, including basically violating every piece of advice that is ever given for relationship AskMes. We went from meeting to moving in together almost immediately; we made a sudden decision to get married largely because of bureaucratic reasons; and we have spent a lot of time apart because of school and work. And yet, here we are, married more than a decade and apparently happy to keep it that way.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:22 AM on June 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

After my first date with my now husband, I called my mom and told her I had met "the one." But that's not really the story, IMO.

It took him a long time to reciprocate my certainty. I wanted to move in together long before he was ready and when we got engaged there was a long period of time where we were "engaged" but only for the purposes of planning a wedding/securing a venue and he didn't want to tell people until we were officially engaged. Having different timing always hurt and frustrated me, but I knew that he needed to do things at his pace and that he was worth the wait. We've been married a couple of years and still learn about each other every day.

This past year, I wanted to do something that affected both of us on my timeline and it was very important to me so I was insistent about it. I was also thinking about all the times we had done things on his timeline, so I was trying to go forward standing up for what I needed while still being sensitive to how he may have been feeling. He was upset, but then said something that surprised me, "This must be how you felt all those times we did things on my timeline. I'm going to have to think about how I made you feel." He really got it and got me without me having to say anything about that. The way he was able to set aside his own feelings to reflect on mine just made me realize I had made the right choice.

There's a Feist song "How Come You Never Go There" (Youtube link) where she sings "How come you never go there/how come I'm so alone there?" We may not always move at the same pace, but I know we are walking together.
posted by CMcG at 5:45 AM on June 23, 2017 [7 favorites]

I had just gotten dumped and was surprised to find that I had an OK Cupid message from someone living across the country. Someone handsome, witty and smart who was not coy about his interest in me. However, I was going to school in NYC and he was going to school in Hawaii, so there was no way a relationship would work over so long a distance. So instead we became good friends, talking all the time, first on MSN Messenger (heh) and then on the phone.

Eventually I met someone else and things started to get pretty serious, and because the Hawaii boy and I were such good friends I told him all about it. Eventually he said, "I can't listen to another word of this. Dump him, and I'll come and visit you over spring break, and if we hit it off, I'll move out there when I graduate."

That is what ended up happening, and all these things were good early indicators of having met someone very special. I do remember the moment I realized he was way more than special, though.

We had all these fun things planned, and one of them entailed my buddy and his boyfriend cooking us this extravagant pan-Asian feast, which involved shrimp, tofu and spinach, among other things. So we did that. And later that night we were sleeping together in a twin bed when I sat bolt upright and puked everywhere. Instead of braining me with the lamp, he helped clean up and take care of me. I knew then that it must really be love. Now it's ten years later and I don't regret a second of it.
posted by zeusianfog at 6:51 AM on June 23, 2017 [5 favorites]

Joseph Gurl, that's one of my very favorite love poems - I way more prefer the poems that are about everyday love than breathy romanticism.
posted by barchan at 7:00 AM on June 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

The first time: I was 26 and we'd been dating 2 years already and my family liked him, so...
The second time: It was a K-1 visa or nothing, so...
The third time: If there is a third time, it will be because I want it and he wants it, not because of anything or anybody else. OK so I'm a slow learner.
posted by headnsouth at 7:01 AM on June 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

My future husband and I had been dating exclusively for about eight months. I am notoriously slow to commit and cautious about relationships. He'd tried to initiate a conversation about two months in about how he was in love with me and I panicked and told him I wasn't ready for that. He said okay and didn't bring it up again. We continued dating and having fun and it was great.

So, eight months in, we went to IKEA. I LOVE IKEA. I can spend all day there. If I were rich, I'd furnish a house entirely from IKEA, Lisbeth Salander-style. And I find out, he loves IKEA too! We had a great time and we were standing at a table after checking out, drinking pear sodas from the little grocery store. And I thought about how fun he was, how generous, how willingly he went along with my plans and schemes, how he didn't dig in his heels and refuse to do something just because it was something *I* wanted (this was not modeled for me in relationships I saw. Most of the men of my acquaintance will refuse to do things their female partners want to do just so they can not seem "whipped." Yes. It's like that), how he made me laugh, and how great it was that we could have an absolute blast doing something dumb like walk around a home furnishings store. And I just knew he was the guy for me and I told him I loved him. And he was like, "Wow, I didn't think you were ever going to say that to me. I love you too. [pause] You realize we're in an IKEA, right?" Hee.
posted by Aquifer at 7:07 AM on June 23, 2017 [11 favorites]

(we just passed our one year mark of being married)
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:39 AM on June 23, 2017 [19 favorites]

College freshman orientation, August 1988. Met a boy named Mike who played guitar and was really cute and shy and funny, but because I was shy, too, never got past "hi."

Three years later, my roommate Amy walks in the apartment with a guy who looks really, really familiar. He agrees. We go through the list of people we know, classes we've taken...and then it hits us: freshman orientation! He's Mike!

Mike and Amy date for a little while but it ultimately doesn't go anywhere. Mike becomes a part of our friend circle (what we all called "The Scene" in Muncie, Indiana) and Amy joins a band. I've been dating a guy on and off for the last three years and things are rocky, to say the least.

Amy's band is recording in the campus studio, as part of some Recording Engineering and Technology student's project. Amy takes me to the studio one December day and there's a cute boy behind the board who she doesn't introduce me to. Things aren't great with my boyfriend but they're better than they've ever been and we're talking about moving in together next year.

After winter break is over, Mike and I decide to go to a Gulf War (the First) protest on campus. He drives. We walk up the Quad and he says, "Oh, there's Pete. He's the drummer in my band. You should meet him!" So he introduces me. Pete has the most beautiful blue eyes and THE BEST smile I've ever seen in my entire life. Something in my heart bursts and I know, I just KNOW, that I'm going to marry him. We talked during the entire protest and he's funny and smart (oh my god, so smart) and he's really tall and I'm just smitten. I go home, call my boyfriend, and break up with him for good.

Pete becomes a fixture in mine and Amy's life. I don't tell Amy that I'm pretty sure I'm in love with Pete. Pete asks Amy out on a date. I am crushed. The date comes and goes and Amy tells me that they both decided that there's nothing there beyond friendship. My car breaks down and the only person I can get hold of is Pete. He picks me up, we go get pizza (just the two of us) and talk and laugh for hours. I finally tell Amy how I feel about Pete and I cry because I don't think he's ever going to see me in that way. Valentine's Day, our friend Scott has a party at his house. Amy, Pete, and I go (as we always do) together and at 12:01 am he asked me out. Turns out he felt the same way about me but completely and totally missed all the signals I was sending (which, yeah, that's him) but Amy, god love her, talked to him and told him if he didn't ask me out she was going to throttle him. In my anxious, terrified way, I tell him I will go out with him but I will not be his girlfriend because I'm not ready to be tied to one person. I know. WTF.

I am dating a couple different guys at this point but Pete is The One. I know it, Amy knows it, but I'm just terrified of commitment after my previous boyfriend (check my comment history for the brain tumor story!) and jesus, I'm only 21. One night, Amy and I go to Pete's (and Mike's!) band's gig and the other guy I'm more seriously dating was there, too. Mike introduces a song by saying, "Pete wants to dedicate this song to Candace!" and they launch into Vanilla Blue by Naked Raygun.

Reader, we'll be married for 23 years this November. He still sings Vanilla Blue to me when I'm sad.
posted by cooker girl at 8:45 AM on June 23, 2017 [14 favorites]

The first time I told my wife this story was during our wedding vows.

I had my particular moment of clarity when traveling. We had just both taken the bar exam, and we were traveling through Europe on the cheap. Most of the trip was great, but this particular stretch involved a seasick-inducing ferry ride to Crete, then hunting our way through dark alleys to find a hostel, where we ended up in a set of bunkbeds outside. Then a longer-than-expected slog to a million degree bus station, and finally a somewhat queasy bus ride. And all the while we were perfectly fine with the whole process, watching a couple movies and sharing earbuds on my video iPod (which was a thing!).
posted by craven_morhead at 8:51 AM on June 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

We'd moved in together in spite of her family's disapproval, got drunk on champagne, and she said "Tell me about dinosaurs."
posted by maurice at 9:06 AM on June 23, 2017 [7 favorites]

I'm not married. But a week ago a girl told me she was taking the penultimate spoonful of icecream
posted by iffthen at 9:37 AM on June 23, 2017 [11 favorites]

We had a lot of false starts in college, spending time together in couple ways and then the next day having shouty fights and ignoring each other (other than D&D games and SCA events in a group and he was the only one willing to drive me home after things) and never actually admitting we were in any way together.

Eventually the on again time was more than the off again time and at some point I told my mom about his pre-existing medical conditions, she said "don't marry this guy unless you want to be his nurse" and I thought 'oh hell yes I will marry this guy'. I told him we would be getting married a few weeks later and he said not in a church and that was that.

I was indeed his nurse for about six months before he died, but on the other hand my mom has been dad's nurse for 19 years now so what does she know.
posted by buildmyworld at 9:57 AM on June 23, 2017 [6 favorites]

We'd been in a comfortable, stable relationship for several years and were living together. He says "hey, can we talk about something?" and explains that if we're married before the end of the year, it saves us N-thousand dollars on taxes. After some discussion, and my getting an assurance that it doesn't have to mean anything in particular/change anything about our relationship/involve any sort of ceremony, I agree. We get married in the next state over because the paperwork is less of a hassle, my dad officiates a non-ceremony in a gazebo in a park. We're contentedly married some number of years later and neither of us would be able to tell you when our anniversary is.
posted by NMcCoy at 10:14 AM on June 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

We had been together for many years, rolling along amiably and fending off questions about marriage from family, and might have continued that way. But then he was moving to Canada for work, and we arrived with our moving truck, and the Canadian border officer stamped my passport telling me I couldn't go with him. It was an error. We got it fixed quickly. But still, that moment of "no, you're going to be separated" was when I knew, because that was a viscerally unacceptable outcome.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:44 AM on June 23, 2017 [8 favorites]

This is a delightful thread. Our 11th anniversary is this weekend, but I knew I would marry her many years before that - while lying under the gorgeous desert sky in New Mexico? While swigging her Dad's raw blended "green juice"? While making dinner for her extended family?

(And a special shout-out to this comment, a metaphorical Molotov cocktail of emotions packed into 32 words.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:48 AM on June 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

As I walked into my sophomore-year honors rhetoric class, for some reason I was thinking about how I hadn't encountered any worthwhile potential romantic interests on my entire major Big Ten university campus. I sat down, saw him leaning against the radiator that ran the length of the room, tall, scruffy, bespectacled, and staring off into space, and without knowing his name, major, or anything about him, I idly thought, "I bet I end up with him."

That was 28 years ago...more than half my lifetime.
posted by tully_monster at 12:03 PM on June 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

I asked my then-boyfriend to be the stunt cock for my very first attempt at a pro porn photo shoot. It turned out to be an utterly miserable experience for both of us, took literally all night, and in the end, there wasn't any usable material to submit for publication. We'd finally dragged our sorry asses home around dawn and were snuggled in bed together commiserating about how shitty it had been, and I thought to myself, This is it. This is the guy I want on my side forever.

We've been happily married for 12 years and he's still the person I want on my side no matter what.
posted by merriment at 12:33 PM on June 23, 2017 [11 favorites]

I'm not sure when I knew, but it was probably on the dance floor. He is 20 years younger than me and it was supposed to be a fling. It's been 2 years so far, and we have weathered his PhD defense, my unemployment, 11 days at Burning Man, and my 50th birthday together- and we keep happily choosing each other.

Marriage isn't going to happen, but my cat loves him, my daughter thinks he's awesome, and somehow, it just works. He is my person.
posted by Space Kitty at 1:10 PM on June 23, 2017 [8 favorites]

I don't know about the exact moment, but I do know, after a long-distance (and just long full stop!) courtship conducted through emails and phonecalls, she was on one of the precious visits down to Melbourne and we were just snuggling together.

I told her I loved her, and she said "No you don't", and I laughed - because I did love her, and I knew it, and I was pretty sure she loved me too (she just hadn't realised it yet), and this was one area where this uber-confident, uber-smart girl - one of the rarer occurences in our relationship, then and now - was all at sea and I was the confident one who knew what they were feeling and what they were doing, and how things were going to go.

To this day, some 12? 13? years later, I still get a private, small delight when I feel like she's under-rating me on something. And that was the best thing to be right on, and I tease her about it every now and then.
posted by smoke at 7:11 PM on June 23, 2017

did I do it right
posted by schroedinger at 2:38 PM on June 22 [126 favorites +] [!]

You may have, or you may not have - we won't know for sure until we look inside the box.
posted by Sebmojo at 7:36 PM on June 23, 2017 [8 favorites]

I always learn things from this site, and strangely, this time I learnt something about myself. My husband and I met at our friends' wedding, and again when they were passing through town. We actually went on a few dates (like, four) over a month and I really liked him. Having said that, there was no employment for me in my city and I was going to have to go interstate for work.

Anyway, he asked me where I saw our relationship going and I told him I really liked him, but I was going to have to leave to find a job. He replied by saying he wasn't in a good place for a relationship and only wanted something casual anyway. (He'd recently lost his mother and was grieving.) So, I kissed him goodbye, mentally put the relationship to bed, moved away and thought that was it. Until he...just started flying over to visit me. Given his conversation, I couldn't figure it out, but I liked him, so I rolled with it and one thing let to another and blablah, 12 years, two kids, etc.

Anyway, having read the intro to this post, I just leant over and asked him, "Hey, when did you know you wanted to marry me?" Him, "When you moved interstate." Me: "But we weren't even seeing each other then! You said you didn't want a relationship!" Him: "Well you asked me and that's the answer! That's when I knew!"

So folks, there you have it. Men are weird.
posted by Jubey at 10:18 PM on June 23, 2017 [7 favorites]

You may have, or you may not have - we won't know for sure until we look inside the box.

I think if you click on that image link you'll not only discover the status of box and cat, but you'll find the feline exposed to the most deadly of poisons: a stuffed penguin soaked in eau de catnip.
posted by Anonymous at 10:28 PM on June 23, 2017

Anyway, having read the intro to this post, I just leant over and asked him, "Hey, when did you know you wanted to marry me?" Him, "When you moved interstate." Me: "But we weren't even seeing each other then! You said you didn't want a relationship!" Him: "Well you asked me and that's the answer! That's when I knew!"

So folks, there you have it. Men are weird.
I don't want this to come off as "y'all are doing it wrong" because I'm genuinely enjoying the variety of responses, but reading this also made me realize that my "this is the person that I'll marry" decision tree is not the same as others.

14 years ago, I visited her in Alabama. I was doing a Southern road trip, visiting various friends in Georgia, the Carolinas, DC, etc., and she was the furthest stop before I was going to turn around and drive back to New England. It had been five years since she called me to say that she was moving away for grad school. Five years since we had last seen each other, and nearly eight years since we had dated that one time. At that point, we had settled into a pleasant, stable friendship that was sustained by sporadic emails and Friendster messages. When she greeted me in Alabama and let me into her townhome, we easily fell into a conversation that stretched through the evening and into late at night.

At some point in that evening, I was mentioning how I was deciding if I was going to commit to living in Boston or moving again and then she just dropped an offhand reference to "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

and that was when my heart went *ping* and I knew that I still had feelings for her, and that was always going to be the case. I would love her until the end of my days. Maybe not romantically, because we weren't in a relationship then. And at the time, I was on a year off from dating, to learn about being happy with myself. But there would always be a place for her in my heart, as there are places for other special people.

We are married now and it's lovely and wonderful and amazing, and if you asked me about when I'd know when I'd marry her ... I'd hesitate to offer that night in Alabama as the moment when I knew that I'd ask, because that would've been dumb and presumptuous, but that night still lingers on as Important. When I wrote to her five years ago to ask for forgiveness for the awkward 20 year old that I was, she also referenced that Alabama visit for herself as this lovely moment where she had seen that everything she liked about me was still there, but everything else had matured -- branch, root, and crown. "You were still you. Only better."

I spent two nights in Alabama. Four months later when I started dating another person. That relationship went for 7 years and it is also Important. We would've gotten married if she had wanted it, but in the end, we split for good and amicable reasons. That ex still has her own slot in my heart.

The journey that my wife and I had is dotted with all of these signposts where we realized that while we were not "in love" we definitely still loved each other, as old and important friends do, as we still love other people who are important to us. There were many valid reasons why we didn't get together until later, and nothing about our union was predestined. We could've made different choices until there was one choice that just seemed obvious and undeniable.
posted by bl1nk at 5:34 AM on June 24, 2017 [5 favorites]

I met her a lifetime ago, really, which in this case means 1989. At the time, she was dating a guy I'd recruited into my honors-dorm/nerd-frat. A year or so later they split up, and we considered getting together, got close, and realized what it would do to the other guy, so we waved off.

At some point, she dropped out, and I assumed I'd never see her again. And then, in the summer of 2001, that guy sent out an email about changing jobs and cities, and used the CC instead of the BCC field, rudely exposing all his friends to each other. I scanned the list to see who else he still knew, and there she was.

I sent her a mail. "Whatever happened to you?" She told me, in long, witty mails I hoped for every time I opened my laptop. She'd moved to DC. She'd worked for a law firm, and almost gone to work for a lawyer in the West Wing in the Clinton years. She was presently back at school, full time, which was wonderful and surreal.

My employer was tanking at the time, so as the fall approached I got busy. To apologize for failing to hold up my end of the correspondence, I sent her an actual piece of physical mail. It was just a card, but it stands out to this day because it was the only piece of mail in her box on the 11th of September that year, and the last piece of mail she got there before it was anthraxed and even the idea of postal mail seemed scary.

In response, she called, which was a first.

By the second hour of that phone call, a smart guy would've known that Something Was Afoot, but I have always been deeply clueless about such things. Even so, a plan emerged: she'd missed the U2 tour in DC, but hey, how far is Dallas from Houston? (It's not close, but people drive farther for concerts.)

She got tickets, but the plane tickets were extortionate. I had miles, so I offered to fly her down if she'd buy the hotel in Dallas. It's a deal. All of this is impossibly optimistic; realize, we've still not seen one another since 1990. Is this a date? Or what?

We discuss how to navigate the then-novel "let's make laps at the airport" pickup routine. I had a flashy car -- a boom trophy, if you will -- so we thought we'd rely on the power of the Red Car.

Turns out, we didn't need the car. I saw her the moment she emerged from the sliding doors, and called her name. She grinned and jogged to me, gave me a hug, and we were in the car together, grinning at each other. It was clearly about to be very long, very optimistic first date.

And I knew then, in that moment.

Over that winter, she finished her degree, but the gradual desperation of the airline industry meant we could afford to spend a LOT of time together. She moved here, to Texas, after graduation. A year after that, we moved in together. A year after that, I proposed, with a ring made from my grandmother's diamonds.

This fall makes 16 years since the airport, and 12 years since the best party EVER.
posted by uberchet at 2:39 PM on June 26, 2017 [6 favorites]

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